International Day of the Podenco

Probably not as well known as Workers’ Day, but, thanks to groups on Facebook, today marks an important stage in the campaign to rid Spain of the cruel treatment meted out to hunting dogs. Not just podencos and galgos, but also bodegueros, pointers, setters and other breeds.

Families – and their dogs – are marching in London, Manchester and Glasgow to call attention to the plight of these abused and abandoned dogs. In London, they will hand in protest letters and a photocard petition to the Spanish Embassy.

These marches follow one in Paris on 23 April, and one in Gettysburg, USA, on 28 April. More are planned for summer.

Actress, author and activist Joanna Lumley has given her support to the campaign:

‘The appalling treatment of Spanish Hunting Dogs strikes a chill to the heart; it is impossible to believe that a country as sophisticated and fine as Spain could tolerate such unforgivable cruelty to living creatures. I add my name to the many who are calling for this inhumanity to be stopped once and for all.’ – Joanna Lumley OBE.

The protest has been organised by the Podenco Alliance and Podenco Support South West. I never thought I would have anything good to say about Facebook but … it gets results. Much as I loathe it.

Originally scheduled to coincide with the planned visit of Fel and Leti (king and queen of Spain) to the UK, it was postponed when they cancelled their visit. Presumably because they didn’t want the embarrassing scenario of protesting podencos and their people pointing out how disgracefully Spain treats their hunting dogs. Although what else would one expect from a country that loves bullfighting? And, I might point out, there is a prestigious annual trophy for the best performing galgo, no less than the Copa Su Majestad El Rey. Yes, the King’s Cup. They could start by getting rid of that.

This is the country that rewards the good hunting dogs by hanging them from the higher branches of a tree. Thoughtful huh? The poor hunters get hung lower down where they can just touch the ground and so take longer to die. It’s not enough to kill them. Why not make them suffer too? Fucking sadists. Seriously.

Other favoured methods of disposal include throwing unwanted dogs down wells, knocking them on the head, or dumping them on motorways. Lucky ones like Tosca and Snowy get dumped at rubbish bins or on quieter country roads. Rescuers estimate 100,000–150,000 podencos and galgos are killed annually.

The luckier ones napping
The luckier ones napping

Polly Mathewson, of the Podenco Alliance, says:

‘Of these the podencos — the huge-eared noble, athletic, loving clowns of the hound world are the most numerous, most invisible and the most unknown outside of Spain.’

My clowns
My clowns

The countless abandoned ones may be taken in by shelters: emaciated dogs, injured dogs, frightened, and disturbed dogs. Some have been chained up so they can’t even sit or lie down. Fed on stale bread and water. The previous owner of our house (Irish) fed her two foals on stale bread. They died.

Some in the shelters still don’t make it.

Here is the story of one that did.

He was found in Spain by British expatriates, helped by a British refuge in Spain and adopted by an American to the US. His story was sent for the 1st of May International Day of the Podenco protest by Sabine Ludowigs of the German-US led Facebook site “The Million Paw March for Justice”, that has 20,500 members. People across the world are calling for an end to the suffering of the Spanish hunting dogs.

‘A Podenco was discovered emaciated, dehydrated, lying on a sandy beach, presumed to be dead. He had clearly lost the will to live. Linda Edwards discovered him and the more dead than alive dog was brought to Podenco Friends with Beverley and Warren Farmer. It was discovered that his front right leg had been caught in a trap and broken – probably the reason why he had been thrown out and abandoned by his previous owner who had no further use for an injured dog and who would certainly not waste money on medical treatment. God knows, there is an endless supply of other dogs as they are bred uncontrolled and unaccounted for by the thousands every year. The bone had already fused and could not be repaired. The dog received all the love and care he so badly needed and after the incredibly short period of six weeks of rehabilitation, made the trip to the US to be welcomed with open arms into his forever home with Kristi Eaves and is now the dog he was meant to be. His name is “The RedBaron’.

Podencos are being homed all over Europe, Canada and the USA as international awareness grows about them. But they are a tiny number in the scheme of things.

The campaign calls for education, an end to overbreeding and cruel training techniques, and effective enforcement of existing legislation.

Truth is, in Andalucía, which is big podenco territory, all dogs should be chipped, jabbed, and registered with the Junta de Andalucía. And which animal abuser is going to spend money going to the vet to do that? €110 for Tosca’s jabs and chip, plus €140 for spaying. And why register a dog you are only going to keep for one or two seasons? That’s part of the problem. Registration is a total disincentive to the mentality of the hunting population.

In the meantime, individuals, groups, rescuers, shelters, fosterers and rehomers do what they can.

Thanks to everyone who plays a part in rehoming any animal. Please don’t buy from a breeder when there are so many unwanted and abused animals out there. Chipping will help identify your animal if it gets lost, although unscrupulous people will rip it out. And, if you home a bitch, do what we did, and take her to be spayed muy pronto. If you can’t home an animal, please ask a local shelter what they need – money, food, bedding, whatever. They probably always need money.

Don’t do what a (former) friend of mine did and give money to a rescue to salve your conscience then run out and buy a ‘perfect’ dog from a breeder. It really isn’t necessary.

After two months with us, Tosca has settled in perfectly. She is obedient, affectionate, full of fun, a great guard dog, and enjoys playing with Snowy. These wonderful dogs don’t deserve their Spanish fate.

Nap time again
Nap time again

92 comments on “International Day of the Podenco

  1. This is so sad! I know some people who assume shelter dogs must be problem dogs or they wouldn’t be in the shelter. As I sit here with my two pound pups I can attest that they are wonderful companions, loyal and well mannered (well, mostly). Pure bred they are not. I’m not at all certain why that matters. I can’t imagine them to be any more loving.

    Snowy and Tosca look like peas in a pod, like they belong together. Sweet, sweet photos!


    • The scale of the problem is just enormous.

      We’ve never had a non-rescue dog. Years back, when we first discussed getting a dog, I said I’d like to rescue one. ‘Sure’ he said. And that was that. Six dogs later we’ve not changed. I couldn’t do otherwise. Coincidentally, four of those have been pure bred. The two pods, the GSD and the Lab. We didn’t even know what Snowy was when we took him as a pup, the vet told us he was a pure (albino) podenco.

      They play an awful lot. She is very tough and bigger than him, but still, they seem to like bitey face and chase. Thanks.


  2. It is the same here with the absurd grey-hound racing. Thousands of grey-hounds are slaughtered or even abandoned each years if not suitable for racing anymore. Thousands of horses end up being killed or are limping around paddocks, disabled and often ababdoned too, because of mankind fanatic obsession with gambling. Make no mistake. Racing animals is not sport. Take away betting and the horse and grey-hound racing would stop over-night.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Linking to your post – you said it better than I could. Authentic from being there and with pictures. Then depth of inhumane treatment is so disturbing. (But we’ll hear “respect other’s cultures” shouted…just like with dog fighting here. Pathetic reasoning ignoring the pain and disrespect to those so loyal and true.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linking to my blogs Galgo News and Podenco Post. Been involved in publicising the plight of the galgos and podencos for 9 years, written 2 books about them, been on countless rescues into Spain from my home in France with a French rescue rehoming association. The protest was originally my suggestion to Polly Mattheweson when I read about the Spanish Royals’ proposed visit, which she took on board and developed, so am thrilled how successful all the marches were.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you so much Beryl. Love your two blogs. Need to copy the links across to my feedy ready thing.

        Excellent suggestion and a great idea. Thanks for letting me know. Polly’s sent me some follow-up news so I’ll be doing an update later, looking at the other marches planned too.

        Beautiful dogs aren’t they? Although my two are currently wrestling on the sofa :D


    • The respect for other cultures is an interesting one. Reminds me of people who moved to the Lake District and moaned about the nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield. Locals liked it because it was a source of much-needed employment. Those of us working on the regilatory side of things had a different pov.

      A slight diversion from animal cruelty but it’s about closed minds and self first. When money is short, people will do anything. And justify it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. OMW !!! I had no idea of the absolute cruelty that goes on with these gorgeous dogs in Spain. For a moment there I had to minimize my screen as I just didn’t want to read about the cruelty…I honestly cannot deal with any form of cruelty to animals. My word, how heartless people can be, how on earth do these people sleep at night, and why does this insane inhumane cruelty have to happen.

    I am so pleased Tosca has her forever home and is one of the family :-)


    • Hey, I didn’t post the emaciated or injured pics, look on the bright side, mere text.

      I don’t have any insight, but my best guess is that they are viewed as commodities. If the fridge or TV isn’t working properly or there is a newer model, throw it out, crush it, take it to the tip, and get a new one. Same thing.

      Tosca is too. Quite the little boss she has turned into.


      • I don’t understand hanging the dogs in a tree! Is it a ritual? Is it like a festival where they have a certain day to do this as some sort of presentation for the best hunters who (OMG) get hung on the highest branches. This isn’t just cruelty raising it’s ugly head It’s BARBARIC! How could a whole group of Men (who call themselves sportsmen) do that to an innocent animal??? Especially a dog who they had to spend some time with! Send me via email something that I can post on Instagram, please! The poor Dogs! Tradition? What? Why the such unnecessary horrid cruelty? Here in the USA the shelters euthanize over 5 million unwanted dogs A Year and many more unwanted cats! But I would have to hurt someone if I saw them hanging a dog from a tree! Even though there is always hidden away cruelty But They are Blatant…Just like you said with the Bull Fights there And right next door to US in Mexico! I’m sorry I’m so overwhelmed I sign a different petition everyday it seems to stop some egregious malfeasance!


        • I’ve been involved with publicising the plight of the podenco and galgo in Spain and the Spanish Islands since 2007. Then there were still hangings, but with all the negative publicity in the Social Media, the galgueros (hunters) now dump their dogs in the killing stations (perreras), or in the campo where they are often injured on roads whilst searching for food. Not many hangings now as in recent times the perpetrators have been traced and court action taken. Also, most of the hangings were galgos, not podencos.


  5. My Lord – that is bizarre cruelty. I’m thankful there are people protesting, and thankful that caregivers like you and your husband adopt and provide a home for podencos such as Tosca.


  6. I like reading and learning more on your posts about podencos. Sure, some of it is repetitive, but it’s a great way to share the awareness and keep it alive. Those pics are absolutely priceless! Makes me want to go grabby, grabby, grab, grabs with romps and kisses… You can see what A & R put me through! 😁 😁


  7. Great post but I just could not read again what the bastards to the dogs that are deemed useless. It boggles my mind and all that cruelty could be stopped if the bastards had a conscious. I hope the march is beneficial in helping get some much needed laws passed. Too bad that bull fighting in a sport.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Yvonne, at least I didn’t post the graphic photos. You can imagine them, I’m sure. The laws are there. They aren’t enforced. Spain is a country in severe economic depression and the excuse is that poor people need to hunt rabbits, or whatever, for food. So … the laws about registration, jabbing, chipping, and No. Animal. Cruelty. are out of the window. They always were. Cultural change takes a long time.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I find it hard to understand how people are so unbelievably horrible to animals. Who on God’s earth in their right mind would kill a dog by hanging it from a tree. They look like wonderful fun quirky dogs. I really find it hard to understand. Power to the folks trying to help.




    • My problem with the cruelty is the huge power imbalance. Like bullfighting. The animals never stand a chance. They trust people, and then, they are let down. And of course, I forgot to mention the sick toerags too.

      But here in Spain, they are a disposable commodity. TV is out of date. Throw it out. New one will be brighter and shinier. Same thing.


        • I think not liking other dogs in the street is different to living with ones in the same home. Although, interesting breed point, our setter mix never accepted gentle Pippa. That was weird. He came with a ‘great with kids’ tag. Hated them!! Snows can like some dogs, dislike others. Tosca tends to follow his lead. But they will curl up and lie together in their ‘own’ pack.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Lucky and happy looking Tosca. I am sure that Snowy is happy for the company too – no disrespect intended to you or Partner….;) Your vigilance is admirable and will make a difference.


    • Tosca is far too happy! Little boss! I think Snowy likes a pal sometimes, but he still likes his first Podenco privileged status.

      I don’t know. We all do as much as we can. People have reposted this post elsewhere so that’s encouraging.


  10. Thank heavens for you and people like you who raise this issue and keep it prominent.Thanks also for being one whose heart speaks and finds a home for stray Podencos when there is room. They do look to be beautiful dogs and I’m sure your kindness is rewarded..
    xxx Ad always sending you Massive Hugs xxx


    • Thank you for your lovely words David. We all have things we want to make people aware of. Mostly, many of us strive for a peaceful loving life. For me, that includes our animal friends.


  11. Behavioural-value changes need to come from all involved but animal patronage from the king and queen of Spain top would be food for thought for the thoughtless and conscienceless…


    • Sadly royals always endorse hunting, shooting and fishing. So, why would they care about the trash thrown out at the bottom of the heap? Spain’s hunting pedigree is impeccable. Hosting hunts for the British royals and killing elephants in Africa.


  12. thank you for giving voice to a story that is tough to wrap your mind around but needs to be heard. and thank you to Snowy and Tosca for speaking to how loving and wonderful these dogs are, and how deserving of a chance at a forever home.
    they are both so adorable. i especially love that first ‘napping’ click. so heartwarming. cheers to them for a long and happy life together, and cheers to you for giving them the opportunity to do so. :)
    Timmy sends purrs….


    • Yes. It is a hard story, and I left it pretty soft, for once. There are evil photos available :(

      Any unwanted animal deserves a home, but the abuse of these hunting dogs is beyond belief. But no, sadly it is not beyond belief.

      Sweet zzzzzs to Timmy.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Yes, if you want a reaction to something, just post it to Facebook. Especially when it concerns animals.

    The two of them look so beautiful together and what a great shot as well RS. I can see they are so happy. :D

    You are so right. Beautiful furries like Snows and Tosca doesn’t deserve a fate like the ones that’s been handed down on them. No animal deserves a fate like that. It’s cruel and inhumane. I wonder what those people tell themselves when they do things like that? It’s definitely not funny. I would kill folks like that on the spot. Is that allowed? Guess not.

    Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos of the two lovelies RS. They are totally adorable. Please give them lots of hugs and kisses from me. ♥


    • Yes, but there is a difference between prattling on the internet and doing something. At least these groups are doing something constructive to try to make a difference.

      People with one Pod seem to acquire another, and more. They are very packy. But I’m guessing Russel is too from what you’ve said. No animals deserve their crappy fate at human hands do they? We do what we can.

      Thanks darling. My two can never get enough affection. They will enjoy your hugs and kisses. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is what is important and the only reason why I tolerate FB is because of some of the groups. When they can do something constructive and help with information, then it’s great.

        Seems like it but I’ve seen people with other breed of dogs as well, eg. Pekingese, Rottweilers, etc. Some people also just like one breed and stick to it. Russel could be, but he prefers to be alone. He has 4 friends at home and can become very jealous if we give attention to the Congo Grey.

        Definitely. I would sure love to get my hands on those crappy things that call themselves humans. It’s great that there are folks like all of you out there that speak up about it.

        Oh, I can believe that. They are so loved and so special. Just what they deserve and I will kiss and hug them forever. :D ♥


        • Yes, while I dislike FB per se, it does achieve results for animals, so therefore, it isn’t all bad. It’s not FB that achieves results I know, but it is the medium that is used. So until a better one arrives …

          If I was a one breed person, it would be GSDs, or maybe Ridgies. But for me, the priority is giving an unwanted, possibly abused, animal a home. The fact we have two Dencies is fluke. Well, and that lots of them are thrown out of course.

          When I said pack, I was thinking about the people pack just as much. So yes, Russel does have his pack. Although clearly not Congo Grey :D

          Animal abuse isn’t treated seriously. Sadly. The only crimes that seem to matter are ones involving money.

          Thank you ❤️

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, it is a good medium for things like that.

            I am the same. All of our furries are also unwanted, abused or disabled. That is a good fluke and not strange, as there are so many around that’s being abused.

            Oh, I see. LOL! Maybe because I am not a pack animal, but if you count all the animals I have here, hubby and boys included, I guess I am the alpha. :lol:

            That is so true. The minute we can start treating those abusers the same they treated the animals, then it will stop. Money always talks with bastards like that. I hope they die.


          • Home for old cast-offs here :) A bit like us really. I’m not a pack animal unless they have four legs and/or fur.

            I often moderate my thoughts and comments. Refreshing to see an honest viewpoint. :)

            Liked by 1 person

          • I totally agree. :D

            I don’t and can’t but most of the times I get so furious with bastards like that, that I can’t put words to what I am thinking because I feel too murderous. They can just be glad I can’t get to them.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Same here and maybe we’ve always had it but never noticed it that much. Getting older also made me realise I have lot less patience with most people and I don’t feel bad or guilty about it anymore.

            Liked by 1 person

  14. Terrible we have a “neighbor” here in Benissa, Alicante with 6 hunting dogs chained-up and incarcerated in a small 2 x 2m tin roofed hole… the temperatures in the summer go more than 50 degrees, the dogs suffer terribly, cry and bark day and night and live in the sheer hell of their own “shit”…. My wife and Mother-in-law are traumatized by this cruelty, complained to the Town Hall and after 8 months they replied that what did we expect living in the Countryside… Have taken photos of these dogs and their suffering but not sure what to do with them as nobody here seems to want to know? Toni


    • Hi Toni, I’m not up in the laws in Alicante province, only Andalucía, although they are sparsely applied. If at all. Are you a member of the many facebook pages? because there may well be someone on there who might be able to advise you what to do, who to contact. I’m assuming Alicante is still more pod than galgo so just look up some of the pod groups. Honestly, I’m signed up to so many I can’t even think of them, but I’m sure people will help if you post a specific request.

      Vicious bastard, by the way. Hope he rots in the same heat hellhole.


      • Thanks for your advice, unfortunately l am not “very” facebook so that will not be too much help to me. I guess what we need is a good spanish news paper or TV programme that would be prepared to expose these terrible people and Town Halls such as Benissa that do nothing about it… I have put-gether a small blog in Spanish: to try and get things moving but l guess it will take some time…


          • Why not post the suggestions here so other people can read them too. The suggestions have come from several people very involved in galgo and podenco rescue who have an enormous amount of experience in dealing with situations such as this. Please keep us advised of what you do – have you contacted Seprona? You also need to make a Denuncia as otherwise the police (if unhelpful) could claim there is no record of the bad situation. You also need to make sure they do not ‘lose the paperwork’. I also suggest DeAnimals is a specialist lawyer firm in Murcia fighting court cases of animal cruelty and who organise courses for lawyers, judges, police, vets, as to the exact course of action to take in a case of animal cruelty/abuse.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Sure … but the local police and Benissa Town Hall are just not interested the police told me that face to face and the Town Hall took 8 months to answer our denouncia only to say this was a normal event is you live in the Countryside … certainly there are a lot of guys that go hunting around here, although these are the only dogs we hear barking, squealing and crying day and night…


        • From Beryl, via comments on FB:

          He can denounce at the Guardia Civil office. Also contact Pluto in Moraira and AKIRA in Benissa. By law this situation is ok if the man cleans up the shit!

          Also to contact Seprona but if no asso/foster will take the dogs, they could be taken to the perrera.

          Also Salvacan espana-javea.


          You could tell him about Deanimals – they are a firm of lawyers based in Murcia who work on animal abuse cases and also run courses for police, lawyers, judges, vets on what is needed to tackle an animal abuse case through court if necessary. Have a look at their website, they would appreciate the publicity and maybe he can get advice from them on the procedure to take. Have a look at ACTIN also – if you don’t already know about them – they work on similar situations at their base in Murcia.


          • During the last week Beryl, Vicente the keeper of the dogs, has been keeping the area relatively clean and the dogs are not chained up, nor do they bark and cry all the time… both the Protectora and Seprona have responded as a result of the blog and the massive amount of interest over 5/6 days and they BOTH say they will be monitoring the dogs over the next few weeks?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Hi just found the update on the situation in my Spam box! Good to know that as a result of all the publicity and reaction from the International crowd, Seprona are taking more notice of your complaint. Also that the owner has pulled his socks up in his care for the dogs. Please let us know if the situation deteriorates again, all of us will be happy to help again.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Okay will-do as l have the feeling (really don’t want to be pessimistic) that after the “fuss dies down” in a few weeks we will be back to where we were before…. This guys “just playing the game” in my opinion as theres “no love lost on his part for these dogs” they are just a “means to an end for him”… oh well we shall see!!


          • Tony, I would still suggest you contact DeAnimals and speak to Raquel as she will tell you exactly what Seprona can do if the situation deteriorates again.  You will then be able to tell Seprona what power they have and ensure that they take some action against the owner.  You’ll find their website if you Google DeAnimals.  There are also articles about the subject on my weblog Galgo News from October 2015 when I attended the PAES conference in Murcia at which Raquel and some Seprona police spoke on animal welfare and what they do.  There are many people willing to support you.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Hello David, Thanks for your comments, support and advice, its appreciated. I think for the moment we will keep an eye on our neigbour and if unfortunately, as l suspect, the situation returns back to what was happening before then indeed l will speak to DeAnimals to make sure l have a full understanding of the legalities of the situation and Sepronas obligations before doing anything else. At the moment l would prefer that things settle down a little with the “hope” that the dogs are able to continue a little more comfortable now than previously…. Kind regards, Tony

            Liked by 1 person

  15. I can hardly bear to think of the atrocities people inflict on dogs. We have to face it, as you do, if we are to turn things around. Keep up the good fight. Good book just came out in Canada: Free Days With George by Colin Campbell. He is depressed after his wife leaves him, he takes in a rescue dog, a Newfoundland he names George, and the dog rescues him. Great memoir.


    • Or on any animals :( But, like everyone, I’d like to pretend it doesn’t exist. It does, so therefore, I can’t ignore it. It’s not enough to take in a few strays, it needs more effort.

      Sounds wonderful :) I’ll look it up. Dogs are so compassionate and understanding. When they are not trying to steal my sofa.


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